Fuel for thought: the new forecourts

JET forecourt with Spar store

Next-generation forecourts are meeting new consumer need states, as JET’s latest store development demonstrates.

Consumer needs and behaviours have always been subject to change, but with the pandemic having accelerated this state of flux, the need for forecourt operators to future-proof their businesses with cutting-edge, quality products and services alongside first-class customer experiences has never been so acute.

For JET Retail, that need has been embodied by its newly re-opened flagship site – JET’s biggest transformation to date – close to the Phillips 66 Limited Humber Refinery in South Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.

Following a £3m investment, which included a complete knock down and re-build, the state-of-the-art site now features a host of new facilities and improved access to better and more safely meet the changing needs of both its HGV and car-driving customers.

Roads to reach the site have been remodelled to make entering and exiting easier for car and HGV drivers alike, with a separate HGV driver entrance offering simpler access.

On-site, an array of new facilities have been designed to improve the customer experience, including a larger HGV loading area, new HGV and retail forecourt technology and a larger customer parking area.

The site also offers new pumps, a full range of all JET branded fuels, new AdBlue facilities and, thanks to a new partnership between Jet Retail, Spar and James Hall & Co, a new Spar-branded retail store.

In line with evolving market trends and the growing consumer appetite for convenience on the go, the new store features a broad mix of chilled produce as well as fresh bakery options and tinned and packaged grocery.

According to Lumina Intelligence’s UK Forecourt Market Report 2021, just over a quarter of forecourt shoppers in 2021 were on a planned top-up mission, with bakery (45%), chilled foods (44%), fresh fruit and veg (35%) and tinned or packaged grocery (32%), the most popular categories purchased.

The store also features an upweighted food-to-go offer, including an array of freshly prepared hot and cold options via Spar’s Daily Deli concept plus Rollover Hot Dogs, in a bid to capture a larger slice of the key breakfast and lunchtime opportunity.

Customers can also select from a range of hot and cold drinks to go including items from Seattle’s Best Coffee and Polar Krush.

Commenting on the new site, JET Retail UK director Renee Semiz said: “This site has been future-proofed to meet the changing needs of our customers.

“Every aspect of this site and the customer experience has been meticulously considered to produce a facility we can all be immensely proud of. We are a customer-focused business committed to getting our drivers back on the road quickly and safely and this site is equipped to do exactly that.”

JET Retail UK’s outlay comes at a time of continued investment by the UK’s independent forecourt sector.

According to the Association of Convenience Store’s Forecourt Report 2021, independent forecourts spent around £16,000 on average per store in the past year – far more than their convenience store-only counterparts, although less than the previous year.